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All-North Div. I-A boys basketball: Sophomore Klekas steps up to pace Elko (watch video)


1:00 AM, Mar. 17, 2013 EDT

Elko sophomore Nathan Klekas looks at a basketball season as a simple math problem: the number of championships for the Indians should add up to three. Two is nice enough -- and would represent a great season at many other schools -- but it's not quite three.

That was the case last season for Elko, which finished with an unbeaten 10-0 record in the Ruby Mountain League and then swept three games in the Division I-A North regional tournament. The Indians, though, came up short in their quest for a third title, falling to Clark by five points in the state semifinals.

Klekas played in all 28 of the Indians' games, averaging 14.3 points and 8.9 rebounds from his wing position. For his efforts in leading the Indians to a 24-4 record, he was named the 2012-13 RGJ All-North Division I-A Player of the Year for the second straight time.

"We bought into it really well this year; we were a lot closer," Klekas said of a sophomore-dominated team coached by his father, Chris. "We should be able to carry this momentum into next year.

"But team-wise, we needed to win three championships, and we only won two. Next year, we've got to go for all three of them."

After a freshman year in which he could sneak up on many unsuspecting opponents, Klekas was a known quantity in 2012-13. That didn't stop him from using his inside-outside game to lead the team in both scoring and rebounding. At a well-built 6-foot-2, he's capable of both banging for rebounds and shooting jumpers from the wings.

"He's a real competitor; he hates to lose," Chris Klekas said. "He'll do anything he has to for his team to win. Anything from defending the best player on the other team to getting the key rebound. He understands what it takes."

With his father relying on significant minutes from underclassmen the past two seasons, Nathan Klekas also has found himself in a leadership role long before most players consider such a responsibility.

"This year, I wanted to be more of a leader, and I think I did all right," Klekas said. "I tried to step up with that. Plus, the five (sophomores) on our team have really bonded over the years. We know each other so well and we really trust each other."

 

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